Apple is currently the most successful and valuable company in the world. From their elegantly-styled products to the cult of personality surrounding the late visionary/CEO Steve Jobs, there is little doubt that Apple is also one of the most culturally relevant and fascinating companies in the world as well. To many, it feels like Apple has only really been significant since they achieved overwhelming success in the early 2000s with the iPod, but the company has been a driving force in the tech industry for almost 40 years. As such, there are a lot of interesting facts about Apple that aren’t widely known and these are 10 of the coolest.
10. 3rd Co-Founder – Ronald Wayne
Everyone knows that Apple was founded by the 2 Steves — Wozniak and Jobs — but there was actually a third member of the original Apple team. Ronald Wayne, who was much older than his two partners, joined Apple in an administrative capacity and wrote the original agreement and Apple I manual, as well as being responsible for the first Apple logo. He initially held 10% of the company, but sold his share for $800 only two weeks into the partnership due to personal debts and commitments. To put things in perspective: his 10% stake would be worth an estimated $60 billion today.
9. Apple Can Void Your Mac’s Warranty Due To Second Hand Smoke
In 2009, reports arose detailing how Apple refused to repair customers’ computers due to the detection of second-hand smoke, which was deemed a biohazard for repair technicians. Appeals were even made to the office of Steve Jobs, but the voided warranties were upheld, despite customers not being able to find any guidelines in their warranty agreements. Only a few cases have ever been reported, so it’s safe to assume that this warranty stipulation isn’t enforced very often. Still, it seems like smoking near your Mac is probably not a good idea (not that anyone really needs more reminders about the dangers of smoking).
8. iPhone Time
It’s not something people would generally notice, but it’s still interesting to learn that every ad featuring the iPhone shows the device’s time as 9:41. Turns out, this was the time that the iPhone originally launched. Apple always tries to reveal their new products around 40 minutes into their keynote addresses. Even though other products like the iPad weren’t actually unveiled at the same time, official images of the product still have the 9:41 time. Leave it to Apple to keep rigid consistency across its product lines.
7. $3 million iPhone
The original iPhone launched in 2007 for a retail price of $599 U.S. — expensive enough for the time, but practically a steal in the grand scheme of things. The equivalent of a 32 GB iPhone 5S, launched in 2013, would have cost about $3.56 million to make in 1991. 1 GB of flash memory alone cost $45,000 then; now, an 8GB USB drive retails for less than $10. You can make a similar comparison with pretty much any consumer electronic, as computer technology evolves at an enormous rate year-to-year, but it’s still fascinating to see just how powerful that phone in your pocket really is.
6. The Pippin
Rumors persist that Apple will enter the home video game console market with a machine of their own, but surprisingly, Apple actually made a console two decades ago called the Pippin (or “Pipp!n”, as it was branded). Released in 1995 to compete with the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and the then-unreleased Nintendo 64, the Pippin was a colossal failure for Apple. It had a launch price of $599, which was outrageous at the time, and had a very thin library of games. Ironically, Apple now dominates the handheld mobile gaming market, making it difficult to understand why they would want to re-enter the home console space at all.
5. Patent for “Slide to Unlock”
Patent laws are on a whole other level of ridiculousness in the high tech era (check out John Oliver’s amazing takedown of the current patent system) and Apple is a pretty big offender. The iPhone and iPad have a “slide to unlock” feature that would seem like a standard component of most touchscreen devices. However, Apple actually holds the patent for this feature and famously sued Samsung and Motorola for patent infringement with their own similar features. The Motorola lawsuit in particular was absurd, given that their devices used a tap instead of a swipe. Apple countered, “that a tap is a zero-length swipe.” Basically, United States patent law could really use an overhaul, to put it mildly.
4. Trademark Battle with Apple Corps.
Apple is not the only famous company to have held that name, as the British company Apple Corps. can attest. Created by The Beatles in the late 60s in order to distribute their records, Apple Corps. has engaged in multiple trademark battles with Apple over the years. The two companies reached a settlement in 1981, agreeing to not infringe on one another’s businesses (Apple Corps. couldn’t enter the computer market; Apple couldn’t enter the music market). This agreement has been violated repeatedly over the years by Apple, with iTunes being the most significant. A final settlement was reached between the companies in 2007; considering The Beatles released their music on iTunes in 2010, it’s safe to say that relations are much better now.
3. Mac Market Share
The Mac vs. PC Debate is one of the greatest rivalries in the tech industry, to the point where Apple even based an incredibly popular advertising campaign around it. To an outsider, the debate would seem to suggest that the personal computer market is relatively close in terms of market share. In reality, Apple only has a small share of the market — about 13.4%, third place behind HP and Dell. To be fair, Microsoft-based PCs have dozens of major manufacturers and are generally much cheaper than their Mac equivalents, which helps explain their overwhelming share of the market.
2. The QuickTake 100
Today, Apple has a relatively small product line, with the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers forming the overwhelming majority of their business. Prior to the massive success of the iPod in the early 2000s, Apple tried their hand in a number of different tech fields, including the digital camera. The QuickTake 100 was launched in 1994 and was actually one of the first consumer digital cameras. To put things in perspective, the QuickTake 100 could only store 8 photos at 640 x 480 resolution, no zoom capability, and no preview option on the camera itself. The irony is that Apple would eventually help kill the point and click digital camera market, considering that most phones now have sophisticated cameras built right in.
1. Steve Jobs’ Salary
You can’t really talk about Apple without mentioning Steve Jobs, the legendary tech visionary who not only saved Apple from the brink of bankruptcy, but made it into the most successful company in the world. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 to try and turn the company around, he agreed to take a $1 salary and did so every year up until his death in 2011. Jobs actually held the Guinness World Record for Lowest Paid Chief Executive Officer — ironic, given that his company eventually became the most profitable in the world. Don’t feel too bad for Jobs’ pocket book though, as the tech guru was compensated handsomely in terms of gifts and expenses, including a $90 million personal jet, and also held $1.4 billion worth of Apple stock and $4.4 billion worth of Disney.